Mr. D Khaitan & trainer Vijay Singh leading Dandified (C Alford Up) winner of The Mayfowl Cup
Barring a superlative performance from Dandified, it was an afternoon that most local punters would like to forget. A string of outsiders left them with burnt fingers ad holes in their pockets. However, Vijay Singh-trained Dandified acted like a soothing balm as the colt by Rebuttal out of Dandoona lifted the Mayfowl Cup in great style in the hands of Christopher Alford. Tracking the front pack (led by Clear Mandate) in fifth slot till heads turned for home, the strongly built colt with a wonderful disposition changed gears in a trice and sailed past them without raising a sweat as C.Alford rode him out hands and heels. The wonder colt of Calcutta was led in by proud owner Mr Deepak Khaitan.
Punters were given a taste of what was to follow in the very first race of the day as Robert Gowli’s friendless Eternal Instinct was powered to a stunning three-and-quarter length triumph by Kishore Kadam. The favourite Apical Light was never in it and raced in the rear of the field for most part. Shes Like The Wind was the best of the rest.
Gowli was not happy to rest back on his laurels and lifted the Cavalry Cup with another unfancied runner – Hot Iron. Top-weight jockey Harish rode a calculated finish on this somewhat lethargic starter and delivered the goods from another out-of-the-blue runner Totalize who was earlier known as Quentin Derward. Avision was backed down to favouritism but her long period of hibernation suggested that she needed the run. Tennessee Waltz was somewhat of a disappointment considering that she finished ahead of stablemate Isle Of Capri over an identical trip during the monsoon meet.
One race earlier, racegoers were shell-shocked into disbelief as two six-year-olds from Vikash Jaiswal’s yard – Schwarzenegger and River Pride – photo-finished for the top slot in the Voltige Handicap. The three-year-old Impressive Move was given a poor ride by Shailesh Shinde, other than which he may well have narrowed the verdict of two lengths, if not win. Gone are the days of the seventies and eighties when ace riders like Robin Corner, Richard Alford and Nelson Reuben were the pride of the local racing fraternity. Poor horsemanship can now cost the punter a pretty penny even if he has backed the correct form-horse. River Pride (Royal Gladiator-Leros) was ridden to victory by Gajender Singh.
It would be fair to say that Tin Tin was very much a false favourite (10-to-6-on) after his two monsoon triumphs. Firstly, he was penalised a whopping 9kg after the second win and secondly, the extra furlong may not be his cup of tea. He is a handicap horse and will always remain so.
The two divisions of the Stirabout Handicap saw public choices bite the dust. In the upper division, Patrick Quinn-trained Sreenidhi was the joint favourite with Apache Gold but faded out after a good jump-out. Speedy Don Magnifico by Mull of Kintyre out of Mrs Mooney, was neglected by all and sundry (possibly because of his inconspicuous rider) but hit the front in the straight and held on without too much trouble from the top-weight Apache Gold who may have felt his legs under pressure.
Jasbir Singh-trained Tasveer (Home Affairs-Cedarzeen) showed that she is equally adept at sprinting when she wrapped up the day’s proceedings by getting the better of course favourite Calypso Girl in the last stride, thanks to Mohit Singh’s relentless pressure.
The season’s first race for two-year-olds was picked up by the 7/1 shot Words (Ikhtyar-Wild Glory) from Sarfaraz Khan’s yard. The colt drifted out despite Kadam’s best efforts and caused some concern to Astaire who was taken out. The latter will be worth keeping an eye on. The favourite Gorgeous Girl was unimpressive.
Other than Dandified, the only other favourite to oblige during the day was Richard Alford-trained Bold Desire (Imtiyaz-City Tamer) who won the Saloon Handicap in the hands of Mohit but was given a fright by top-weight Strauss in the final furlong.